Resolution on Porpoise Mortality Associated with Yellowfin Tuna Fishing

WHEREAS, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 called for a reduction to "insignificant levels approaching zero" the incidental killing of porpoises associated with purse-seine fishing of yellowfin tuna; and

WHEREAS, at the time the Act was passed, the tuna industry assured Congress that techniques to eliminate porpoise mortality were in the final stages of development, but four years later little improvement is evident; and

WHEREAS, three million porpoises have been killed in purse-seine nets since 1960, and last year alone 134,000 were killed for a 33% increase in deaths over 1974 despite a request from the Marine Mammal Commission for a 50% reduction in kill; and

WHEREAS, new techniques are now being tested which promise to reduce porpoise kills to acceptably low levels; and

WHEREAS, legislation is now underway in Congress to weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act and permit the tuna industry to continue to kill porpoises;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists opposes any weakening of the Marine Mammal Protection Act which would permit the tuna industry to continue to kill large numbers of porpoises, and urges the U. S. Congress to fund and promote research necessary to improve the technology of purse-seining for tuna so as to reduce porpoise mortality to "insignificant levels approaching zero" as the Act demands.